Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: Prophecies in Isaiah and the Psalms Respecting Christ's Humiliation.
Chapter XVII.—Prophecies in Isaiah and the Psalms Respecting Christs Humiliation.
Let us compare with Scripture the rest of His dispensation. Whatever that poor despised body 3326 may be, because it was an object of touch 3327 and sight, 3328 it shall be my Christ, be He inglorious, be He ignoble, be He dishonoured; for such was it announced that He should be, both in bodily condition and aspect. Isaiah comes to our help again: “We have announced (His way) before Him,” says he; “He is like a servant, 3329 like a root in a dry ground; He hath no form nor comeliness; we saw Him, and He had neither form nor beauty; but His form was despised, marred above all men.” 3330 Similarly the Father addressed the Son just before: “Inasmuch as many will be astonished at Thee, so also will Thy beauty be without glory from men.” 3331 For although, in Davids words, He is fairer than the children of men,” 3332 yet it is in that figurative state of spiritual grace, when He is girded with the sword of the Spirit, which is verily His form, and beauty, and glory. According to the same prophet, however, He is in bodily condition “a very worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and an outcast of the people.” 3333 But no internal quality of such a kind does He announce as belonging to Him. In Him dwelt the fulness of the Spirit; therefore I acknowledge Him to be “the rod of the stem of Jesse.” His blooming flower shall be my Christ, upon whom hath rested, according to Isaiah, “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of piety, and of the fear of the Lord.” 3334 Now to no man, except Christ, would the diversity of spiritual proofs suitably apply. He is indeed like a flower for the Spirits grace, reckoned indeed of the stem of Jesse, but thence to derive His descent through Mary. Now I purposely demand of you, whether you grant to Him the destination 3335 of all this humiliation, and suffering, and tranquillity, from which He will be the Christ of Isaiah,—a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, who was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and who, like a lamb before the shearer, opened p. 336 not His mouth; 3336 who did not struggle nor cry, nor was His voice heard in the street who broke not the bruised reed—that is, the shattered faith of the Jews—nor quenched the smoking flax—that is, the freshly-kindled 3337 ardour of the Gentiles. He can be none other than the Man who was foretold. It is right that His conduct 3338 be investigated according to the rule of Scripture, distinguishable as it is unless I am mistaken, by the twofold operation of preaching 3339 and of miracle. But the treatment of both these topics I shall so arrange as to postpone, to the chapter wherein I have determined to discuss the actual gospel of Marcion, the consideration of His wonderful doctrines and miracles—with a view, however, to our present purpose. Let us here, then, in general terms complete the subject which we had entered upon, by indicating, as we pass on, 3340 how Christ was fore-announced by Isaiah as a preacher: “For who is there among you,” says he, “that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His Son?” 3341 And likewise as a healer: “For,” says he, “He hath taken away our infirmities, and carried our sorrows.” 3342
Puerulus, “little child,” perhaps.335:3330
Sentences out of Isa. 52:14, Isa. 53:2, etc.335:3331
Isa. lii. 14.335:3332
Ps. xlv. 2.335:3333
Ps. xxii. 6.335:3334
Isa. 11:1, 2.335:3335
Isa. 53:3, 7.336:3337
Isa. l. 10.336:3342
Isa. liii. 4.
Next: Types of the Death of Christ. Isaac; Joseph; Jacob Against Simeon and Levi; Moses Praying Against Amalek; The Brazen Serpent.
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